This 4th 2018


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The 4th has always been a great time for me.  I remember sitting on the banks of the Detroit River (late 50’s OMG) watching the fireworks on the river celebrating both Canada Day and our Independence Day.  And, over the years I’ve had the experience to have photographed 4th events from all over the US. It’s a time that brings us all together.  And when I say all, I mean all from all over the world.

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The country we were, and I hope we will be again contained people that opened their doors to you and came from around the globe.  I’ve photographed projects that have taken me around the US pre and post 9-11 and wondered what people would be like post. They were the same. Open and honest, giving and forthright. It seems to be the same bell curve with a couple of extremes left and right, but most of us are right in the middle.

So, take a moment to reflect as to where we came from in the past, why we came here and where do we want to be in the future.

I’m hoping that the next time I get to roam around the US I find us to be the same open heartfelt American that I’ve seen in the past.

Have a great 4th and God Bless…



These images represent immigrants sworn in to be American citizens, small town parades, back country and big town celebrations. And, people from around the world visiting Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. And the image of the youths around the Liberty Bell:  On every Fourth of July, at 2pm Eastern time, children who are descendants of Declaration signers symbolically tap the Liberty Bell 13 times while bells across the nation also ring 13 times in honor of the patriots from the original 13 states.  All images © 2018 Ed Zirkle




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It was to be a quick and simple trip, pickup milk.  Got to the car and opened the door for Lola and then my door, caught a glimpse of something shiny  and pulled back to see what it was.

Spider web from the steering wheel to the seat and up to the visor!  If I had sat down I would have had a spider on my nose and screaming like a little girl!!

Found a stick and attempted to gently remove the said spider to somewhere else with something more it’s size to eat.  Touched the web to get him out in a flash like Spider Man he disappeared up to the ceiling. So much for the gentle touch… I figured if I got in to drive it would drop down and latch onto my nose and back to screaming like a little girl!

Found him, I know it was a him because he was playing hid and seek. If it was a girl she would have gone for my throat, end of story and the little girl thing again. So hiding in the visor I took the stick to try the removal thing again. Spider took a 200 ft, in spider dimensions, leap to the seat and headed for the crack at the back of the seat. Thoughts of spider crawling into the back of my pants flooded my mind briefly and I cut him off and flicked him out of the car. Last I saw he was running under the car.

I’m wait for him to find his way back into the car, drop down from the visor and give me the finger, then grab my nose, screaming girl again.

Welcome to Saturday, hope your day to quiet and uneventful…



Tip of the hat to John Grech for the spider image.

You Don’t Know Till You TRY


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Saturday I was reminded why I like photographing Special Olympic games.  Couple of years ago National Games were in New Jersey and Ohio had a special swim team in competition. Special as in good hard workers, not Special Olympics even though that is why they were there. While waiting on one of the teams to compete I notice a gentleman on the swim floor in a wheelchair. He got up and using a metal cane approached the pool lane. It became obvious that he had the use of just one arm and leg, but jumped into the pool to compete. Swam a freestyle competition and did very well.

Yesterday at the powerlift competition held in the Thurber Theatre at the Drake Union on campus – The Ohio State University – I was witness to another ‘special’ moment.

Young man approached the weights to be lifted with his coach and as the coach was getting the athlete set as I’ve seen the other coaches do I thought he was placing the athletes hand in the right position for the lift. As the coach left I saw this young man using just one hand to do the powerlift!  And lift he did!

The athletes of Special Olympics are a constant reminder that most anything can be accomplished if you are willing to try and the outcome is secondary.

Let me win, but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt.



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Today is Mom’s birthday and today First Lady Barbara Bush passed.  These women were of an era gone by.  Mom bought and sold over 40+ houses/homes over her lifetime. I remember Dad looking at a house and having to make a decision on to buy or not and fretting over Mom’s approval since she had not seen the house. And that was after 40 years of marriage! Mom did it all; cooking as in a master chef, fabric as in pillows and samplers and needlepoint and the stuff coyote with catus that she created, painting, raised 3 sons and lost one, played piano and the most beautiful voice.  Mom and Dad met when she sang and he played in a band back in the 40’s.

I had a chance to see and photograph the Bush’s when they were campaigning.  What I was always impressed with them was how down to earth they were.  At a debate held in Cleveland I remember Dad Bush heading out one of the cars waiting for them and hanging out, kinda lost wondering where everyone was.  Just very nice real people.

So in someway on my Mother’s birthday it would be nice to think she is there to welcome and guide Mrs. Bush on her way.


Summer of 63


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It was the summer of 1963 and our church youth group, TUXIS, assembled some of us, students, to take a bus into the South. I don’t remember Parents raising a fuss so at the time I don’t think we knew much about what was going on and having lived some many places already our acceptance of people was pretty open. I remember palling around with what I think was the only black student at Carson Long Military school in PA back in the 50’s. Love to know where he is now.

So the bus loaded up with a bunch of white high school students went on a ride to the deep South to meet up with the local church people. I wonder now how that trip might have changed my outlook on life and what I would do in the future.

What I remember:
Being asked who was on the bus when we stopped to eat.
Seeing cigarette burns on some people.
Sleeping on the floor of a gym – part of the school or church I don’t remember.
Seeing a burned out church.

I’m sure there was more but those moment have stuck with me over the years. And I don’t remember if I had a camera with me. I should have. Maybe I’ll find negs tucked away one of these days.

August of 63 Martin Luther King, Jr gave his speech and I don’t think at that time I connected the dots. Even though the chances of meeting him were so very remote, he is someone I regret not meeting and having a chance to spend some time and photograph him for the future.

His words are inspirational and I wish we could take up his challenge for unity and a better tomorrow.

References: I Have a Dream address  Video


“I have a dream”


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28 Aug 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr give his “I have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

To this day his words ring true and hopefully a Nation united at some point. I think he would not like what he sees today around America.

After having experienced the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. I find these words so poignant to what the students of our nation are trying to do. Maybe it will be the students that bring MLK’s words to fruition.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

To David Hogg – Emma González and all the other students having their voice heard, continue to march forward, don’t turn back.


Iwo Jima Memorial
Marine Corps War MemorialIwo Jima Memorial
Marine Corps War Memorial


Stitched UP


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One of the great things about digital photography is the ability to make a panoramic image on the spot if, if, you can see in your head how it will stitch together and will tell a better story than just one image.

Last weekend, March 24, I had the chance to photograph history when in Washington, DC the March for Our Lives event was held.  The crowds were epic and at one point it was impossible to move!  I was trying to get to the corner of 7th NW and Pennsylvania Ave NW and the closest I could get to Pennsylvania Ave NW was about 100 ft out. It was, however, an great opportunity for a panoramic to show the crush of people attending the event.

On the technical side… Nikon D800, Nikon 24mm f1.4 and Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor, you can get it here.


Looking East on Constitution Ave NW – Federal Trade Commission left and National Gallery of Art right. 3 image stitch.


On 7th St NW looking North toward Pennsylvania Ave NW. 4 image stitch.


The wall at the Federal Trade Commission near 6th St NW. 3 image stitch.


On 6th St NW looking at the Federal Trade Commission with Constitution Ave NW left and Pennsylvania Ave NW on the right. 3 image stitch.


Student Power


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I had a chance to experience a moment in US history today.  I journeyed into Washington DC to the ‘March for Live’ event. There were people from all age groups from baby’s to plus 80, all nice, cordial and helpful. And I mean everyone. I wanted up on one of the barricades that was a no-no, but the person in charge stated ‘just wait till I turn my back’. As I started to climb up one of the other officers tried to stop me and the lady supervisor came over and stopped him. Absolutely great people everywhere. Besides the great speakers another draw was the mounted police. There were 3 of them and they drew a crowd whenever they stopped.  Took the time to talk to people, shake kids hands and presented a wonderful image. It was funny watching people trying to take a selfie with a horse.  At one point I made a 360 video of the crowd on Pennsylvania Ave. As I rotated the cell phone around I kept hearing a voice urging the crowd on with thought getting them – the crowd – to repeat the phrase, urging them to up their voice.  Later on I found out it was MLK’s granddaughter Yolanda Renee King… this 9 yr old powerful message resonated through out the assembled people. In the end I clocked about 6.5 miles of interesting and wonderful people. A terrific experience. I hope the students keep this going…

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